Chicago Bears QB Speed Check: How Fast Is Justin Fields?

Written By C.J. Pierre on August 29, 2023 - Last Updated on September 1, 2023
Justin Fields

Is Justin Fields ‘faster than a speeding bullet?’ Unfortunately for Chicago Bears fans, the answer is no. However, there is no denying the Bears’ young QB is one of the fastest-rising stars in the NFL today. That is partly due to his insane speed on the field.

We’ve all seen the highlight reels for Fields leaving defenders in his dust. But just how fast is the Chicago Bears starting quarterback? PlayIllinois put together some numbers to compare Fields’ speed to some current and former NFL players. We also will have some fun and see how he would fare in a race against some members of the animal kingdom.

How fast is Fields? We crunched the numbers

It should be noted that, so far, speed is not a legal NFL bet at one of the seven online Illinois sportsbooks.

To make our comparison work, we are going to put together a baseline to judge how fast Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is so we can compare it to someone or something else. According to NFL’s NextGen stats, Fields topped 20 mph nine times last season. Only Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins ranked higher than Fields in 2022, with his 10 plays hitting 20+ mph.

Let’s take a closer look at one of those plays. During a 56-yard TD run against the Green Bay Packers, Fields reached 20.15 mph on the radar gun. Fields’ spectacular running ability is part of what makes him a top-tier playmaker. The fact that he can top out at over 20 mph in less than 60 yards is incredible.

How would Fields compare to the Fastest Man in the World?

To put this in some perspective, eight-time Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt reached a top speed of 27.33 mph. He also once ran a 4.22-second 40-yard dash. That just goes to show you how Fields compares to a World Champion Track & Field star.

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt (Anja Niedringhaus / AP Photo)

At the NFL Scouting Combine in 2021, Fields had an unofficial 40-yard sprint mark of 4.44 seconds, which ranked as the second-fastest speed for a quarterback in 15 years. The only quarterback to beat Fields’ time at the Combine since 2006 was Robert Griffin III, who ran a 4.41 second 40 at the Combine in 2012.

There are various perspectives on quarterback quickness and speed. The 40-yard dash time is typically the go-to. However, not all QBs run the 40 at the Combine. Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson did not take part in the 40 in the Combine. However, during Louisville’s Pro Day in 2017, he ran a 4.34 second 40, making him the league’s quickest active quarterback.

Comparing Fields’ speed to other quarterbacks

Entering his third NFL season, Fields looks to use his speed to open up his passing game and lead the Bears to a new era.

How does Fields compare to a plethora of other fast QBs past and present? PlayIllinois compared him to Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Robert Griffin III and Micheal Vick.

PlayerFastest record 40 yard dash time (sec)Fastest recorded top speed (mph)
Michael Vick4.3319.0
Lamar Jackson4.3421.0
Robert Griffin III4.4125.0
Justin Fields4.4421.2
Jalen Hurts4.5920.5

40 times courtesy NFL Scouting Combine and College Pro Days; Fastest record top speed courtesy NFL’s NextGen stats

But, there are differences when judging a player’s speed in a 40-yard dash compared to the top speed they can reach in an NFL game. The dash is a controlled environment with less pressure added to it. Meanwhile, the added adrenaline one can get while playing in a live game can make a big difference. An example of that is how Robert Griffin III ranks third among these QBs in 40 time, but first in terms of top speed reached.

Vick was the first of his kind. He was selected No. 1 overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. He made a career of making highlight plays with his legs and shocked the world with his spectacular runs. Players like Griffin, Jackson and Fields have been dubbed “The Next Michael Vick.” Injuries put a stop to Griffin’s career. We’ll see how things turn out for Fields and Jackson.

We entered Jalen Hurts into this comparison because of the unique way he uses his speed. While his 40-time is much slower relative to these other QBs, he can still reach a top speed that rivals them. He used his legs effectively in the 2022 season and helped lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl.

Fields’ speed vs. other position players

Fields is not only one of the fastest QBs in the league today, he is also one of the fastest players overall.

We compared him to some of the more dynamic players in the NFL to see how he stacks up against: Tyreke Hill, Justin Jefferson, Christian McCaffrey and DK Metcalf.

PlayerFastest record 40 yard dash time (sec)Fastest recorded top speed (mph)
Tyreke Hill4.2923.24
DK Metcalf4.3322.64
Justin Jefferson4.4320.15
Justin Fields4.4421.20
Christian McCaffrey4.4921.95

40 times courtesy NFL Scouting Combine and College Pro Days; Fastest record top speed courtesy NFL’s NextGen stats

Let’s just put this out there: Fields is not faster than Tyreke Hill. The Dolphins receiver has a laundry list of plays where he shows off his speed. There even plays when he doesn’t have the ball that will wow you.

Meanwhile, the most memorable number here might be DK Metcalf’s top speed, which was recorded when he chased down Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker following an interception.

We added Justin Jefferson and Christian McCaffery in this comparison to showcase how Fields compares to the top players at their relative positions. Jefferson is widely considered the best receiver in the NFL, and McCaffery has been viewed as a top running back for nearly a decade.

Obviously, Fields will need more than just his speed to become a top quarterback in the league. However, it’s not a bad place to start.

Fields is faster than a roadrunner, slower than a grizzly

For fun, PlayIllinois also compared Fields to several members of the animal kingdom. We only used land animals, given that most birds have a clear advantage.

Player/AnimalFastest top speed (mph)
American Quarter Horse44.0
Grizzly Bear35.0
Justin Fields21.2
Alligator (in water)20.0
Humpback Whale19.0
Honey Badger19.0

Animal top speeds courtesy

It comes as no surprise that the cheetah is at the top of the list. The cheetah’s ability to accelerate helps it hit such a high speed before it reaches muscle fatigue. They have exceptionally efficient energy transfer and flexibility in their muscles, bones, and tendons that help them go from 0 to 60 mph in around 3 seconds.

The quarter horse is commonly touted as the fastest of the horse breeds. Here’s a fun fact: quarter horses are not eligible for the Kentucky Derby because the race is reserved for the thoroughbred breed.

Meanwhile, the ostrich is the fastest land bird in the world. This is arguably the fairest match-up that we could give Fields, even if he would lose, given that the Ostrich is the fastest animal on two legs.

In terms of Bear vs. Bear, grizzly bears can sprint at top speeds of 35 mph. However, they can’t maintain this top speed very long. Their ability to sprint fast makes them effective predators. But that also means that Fields could have a shot here if the distance is long enough.

In terms of animals Fields could defeat in a race, they include: roadrunners, alligators (in water), squirrels, humpback whales, pandas, bulldogs, ferrets and skunks. So, theoretically, he could hold his own with many that have a four-legged advantage.

Lions and Wolverines and Bears, oh my!

However, the mascot of Fields’ division rivals from Detroit would win a race against the Bears’ QB. Lions can reach a top speed exceeding 31 mph.

As for the symbol of Fields’ college rivals, the former Ohio State QB would also be beaten in a race with a wolverine. The mascot of the University of Michigan can top out at 30 mph.

Yet, it’s safe to say that a race featuring Fields, Bolt, Hill and a cheetah would be riveting television. Or, at the very least, it would be a viral moment we’d remember for years to come.

Meanwhile, Bears fans are just hoping Fields can harness some of that speed to take the team’s offense to new heights. We’ll see what happens when the NFL season kicks off this week.

Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo (Justin Fields)
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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at Play Illinois. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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